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Women’s Work Heart

Women's Work Heart

The Women’s Work Heart (WWH) programme supports women across Derbyshire living with complex needs, in order to improve their circumstances and wellbeing.

The programme recognises that often issues and barriers affecting wellbeing are entwined, for example, women may be affected by domestic violence; lack financial independence or be in debt; be struggling with mental health and or low self-esteem; be dependent on drugs or alcohol; as well as struggling with managing relationships and parenting. 

The statistics reveal that women living in Derbyshire, and their children, are facing higher rates of deprivation and abuse than elsewhere in the country; notably, there is high unemployment (4.8% in Derby compared with 3.2% across Derbyshire as a whole¹) and also high rates of domestic abuse across the region (31,910 incidents of domestic abuse recorded by Derbyshire Police in 2022/23, an increase of over 10,000 cases in the last decade²) with every one in 5 crimes domestic abuse-related².

¹ Figures for September 2023, see Derbyshire Observatory Unemployment Claimant Count
² Dataset for Year End March 2023, Office of National Statistics, Domestic Abuse in England and Wales – Data Tool

Peer support in community venues

The WWH project builds a network of peer support for women and their children to improve relationships, reduce isolation, improve health and wellbeing, build confidence, self-esteem and resilience.

Drop-in sessions are delivered in an unstructured format and are supported by Peer Mentors and volunteers. Project workers signpost women to partners agencies that offer help with finance and debt, and housing and support them to attend any appointments. We also work very closely with partners to add additional services during the sessions, for example, confidence-building techniques are provided by the WEA.  We also host mindfulness and meditation activities delivered by our volunteer therapist at the Women’ Work. 

Peer Mentors are women with lived experience and are integral to the efficacy of the WWH sessions, as they empathise with the women who attend the sessions and can share their own experiences of Women’s Work and how it has helped them take back control of their lives. 

The informal workshops provide an opportunity for women who are isolated to meet other women and participate in craft activities such as sewing and glass painting which helps boost their self-confidence and helps open conversation about the problems they’re facing.   Practical support is offered in the form of food parcels and a clothes bank.  Our more specialised support, such as Spirit and Soul Equine Therapy, provides a safe environment to promote positive mental health, encourage independence and personal development.


An integrated approach and personalised approach

Following a full assessment of each woman’s particular needs, we refer them to other projects at Women’s Work such as our Freedom programme (to address domestic violence), counselling and parenting courses. We also signpost and support women to access other services if they need other support not offered by Women’s Work, for example, the urgent help of an Independent Domestic Violence Advocate, (an initiative between Derby City Council and Refuge to support women at high risk to escape domestic abuse).   Our team of counsellors can provide therapeutic support to women with emotional stress arising from a variety of issues such as bereavement, depression or change in circumstances. 


This programme is proudly supported by
Lottery commnity fund logo_

What our empowered women have to say...

Thank you to Gemma and all staff for making me feel welcome. I felt very anxious at the start but now I have finished I feel like I want to keep coming back. It’s a safe place for me to learn and grow and I enjoy all of the sessions that are there. The staff are lovely, and kind and caring and all show support to you. It doesn’t matter what you are there for because everyone is together working through it all.

Member – Turn Around Project

I joined because I have always volunteered in one way or another and given my time, but I always wanted to do something that was personal to me. If facilities like Women’s Work had been available when I was growing up that could have helped my mum, I would have had a better childhood. It makes me happy giving back to the service users and helping them feel empowered, even if its something small that does so.

Jeanette – Volunteer

At Women’s Work, I discovered the freedom programme. This has helped me to understand the behaviour of the dominator.

Member – Freedom

After doing the Anger Management Programme, I recognise my triggers now and I can open up more and talk.

Member – Anger Management

The Change programme has given me a more positive outlook on doing group activities. The topics were interesting and helped me to see my own views and the importance of them in life.

Member – Change Programme

The Anger Management programme has given me new techniques to try and deal with my anger. The programme has great insight and gives you a chance to express yourself.

Member – Anger Management